1392

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King Charles Finally Snaps

Louis of Orleans offers 1,000 gold crowns (about $100,000 in present day dollars) to a girl if she will sleep with him. His wife takes exception and secretly threatens the girl who immediately flee. Louis suspects that his servant, Pierre, told his wife and banishes him from Paris. Pierre tries to assassinate Louis and that is where the story begins. It won't end there. Louis is friend and advisor to King Charles the Beloved of France who has set out with a group of knights to hunt down the would-be assassin but while on the road, he has a paranoid episode and cuts down four of his traveling companions. King Charles the Beloved has become King Charles the Mad. France will deteriorate as Mad King Charles's psychosis grows. In a few years he will actually sell off his six-year-old daughter to King Richard II of England in exchange for a truce in the 100 Years' War. As crazy as that seems it will result in several decades of peace. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
What do you call a king who hacks his friends to death with a sword while roaming around the forest making sure his friends are secure? Bat-freaking crazy. When King Charles the Wise died, riots ensued and it was every man for himself. When Charles the Beloved came of age, he threw out his greedy regency and brought back his father's old advisors. It was a good move but just as France was getting back on its feet, the King's judgement comes into question. And Louis of Orleans is a little shady as well. Years later he will be found on a Paris street, murdered with an axe to the head. [3]

The Mayor Offers Corn Subsidies

Due to a debasing of the English currency and a diseased fruit crop the people have nothing wholesome to eat and not enough money to pay for better food. The Mayor of London has stepped forward and is subsidizing the price of corn (actually wheat) so that the poor can afford it. Famine is a normal part of life in the Middle Ages so that when the King messes with the coinage or there is a crop failure, people on the bottom rung of the ladder will suffer. In this case there is plenty of grain but it is expensive and scarce because the major grain regions of the Middle East are now under the control of the Ottoman Turks. [4] [5]

(Further Explanation: "Corn" in this context means wheat. Actual corn won't come to Europe until Christopher Columbus brings it back from the Americas in 1492.)

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The price of corn in the United States is subsidized by the government so it is cheaper to sweeten food products with corn syrup that regular sugar. Some people suspect that the human body processes corn sweeteners differently than regular sugar and not in a good way. Corn is also subsidized so that it is cheap enough to be used as a fuel additive for our cars. When something is subsidized to be cheaper it will be used more where it is subsidized and used less where it is not. That creates a scarcity in the non-subsidized areas and thus famine can be caused by government subsidy of corn rather than relieving a famine as a mayor of London tried to do in the Middle Ages. [6] [7]

Note: I thank Jack for offering further explanation on the podcast regarding the term "corn" used as a synonym for wheat in Europe at this time. I knew something was wrong but I didn't listen to that inner voice that tells me to look further.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1392, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Cantor, Norman F. The Civilization of the Middle Ages. Harper Perennial. August 3, 1994. (BOOK) quote="The French king no sooner came of age than he became subject to periodic fits of insanity. At first annual interludes in his reign, these periods grew longer and more frequent until Charles was merely a useless figurehead. ignored or forgotten in the contest for control of the French government."
  2. Charles VI of France - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Jager, Eric. Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 2014 (BOOK)
  4. Farr, William. The Influence of Scarcities and of the High Prices of Wheat on the Mortality of the People of England. Journal of the Statistical Society of London , Vol. 9, No. 2 (Jun., 1846), Royal Statistical Society. p. 162. (JOURNAL)
  5. Postan, Michael Mossey. (editor) The Cambridge Economic History of Europe: Trade and Industry in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press, 1987. p. 165. (BOOK) quote="By the fourteenth century corn cost about twice as much as it did in the tenth. This was largely due to the fact that the corn fields of of Asia Minor were now in the hands of the Turks."
  6. de Rugy, Veronique. Farm Subsidies Must Die - Reason.com. April 2013.
  7. Murdock, Deroy. Global Food Riots: Made in Washington, D.C. - Human Events. 2008-Apr-18.

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